We have been providing music lessons for over 4 years at First Congregational Church, and we’ve been sponsoring the Clarion Kids Community Choir for over 3 years. We recently completed our third annual music camp. This year we added a second week of camp to accommodate nearly 100 students. We have also been providing several years of musical showcases and organ recital series. Let me share more with you about how we are sharing God’s wonderful gift of music.
All of these activities come under the Clarion Music School, which is a part of the music and worship ministry of the church. The school offers students of all ages an opportunity to learn music through individual instruction, group classes, and ensemble participation. I greatly appreciated the opportunity I had in my youth to learn the trumpet, guitar, ukulele, and harmonica. I also participated in various bands and choirs in school and church. I feel I’m a better person for my musical experiences. I have a deep appreciation for music of a wide variety and I am planning to take some lessons for myself at the Clarion Music School in the years ahead. The program is designed to help everybody celebrate God’s gift of music.
The school offers individual instruction for all ages and skill levels, and is designed to help students hone musicianship in a one-on-one setting. We currently offer piano, voice, strings, and organ. We also have relationships with a wide diversity of instructors in other instruments, and will be vetting and hiring more instructors as potential students express an interest.
In the fall we will begin Music for Little Ones. This is a kinder music program offering a positive and exploratory environment for pre-K Children to begin their music education. Using games, activities, movement, singing and instruments, little children will build a musical foundation that will last throughout their lives!
We also sponsor the very popular Clarion Kids Community Choir. This is a free choral program for children in 1st-8th grade, where they learn vocal production, 2 and 3 part harmony, blending, and performance techniques in a fun, inclusive environment. For adult performers we have the FCC Players, a group of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers who produce showcases throughout the year. Along with offering instruction of the highest quality for all skill levels, and providing opportunities to perform, we also host a variety of free musical performance events throughout the
year. These include our Lenten Organ Series, hosting college Orchestra tours, the Empire Wind Ensemble, and many other solo and ensemble performers. We believe this adds rich educational and entertainment value to our students and to our community.
The coordinator of our program, who interviews students (or their parents), and arranges for the assignment of students to teachers, is Dr. Ed Yarnelle. He is a pianist, organist, and popular accompanist for many vocalists throughout Southern California. He is also a popular part-time professor of psychology. We are blessed to have Ed, our instructors, and all our volunteers who are helping us to share God’s gift of music to our community and celebrate music together as a church family.